Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has issued a notice to three top government officials over leakage of Chlorine gas from the pump house located on the campus of SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack.
As many as 40 people were taken ill on 28 November following the leakage and were admitted to hospital. Patients, attendants and other people near to the pump house complained of nausea, chest pain and vomiting.
Acting on the complaint made by rights activist Akhand of Civil Society Forum on Human Rights (CSFHR), the Commission has directed Principal Secretary, Housing & Urban Development Department, Engineer in Chief, PHEO and Collector of Cuttack to inquire into the matter and submit their respective reports in four weeks.
The petitioner alleged that due to the negligence of the staff of the Public Health Engineering Organization (PHEO), this type of accident is being happened.
Chlorine gas cylinders were lying dumped in various pump houses across the state. Survey of the cylinders that were lying in various pump houses since using of chlorine in form of compressed gas for chlorination of drinking water to kill germs was discontinued more than five years ago, he alleged.
The PHEO had since switched over to using chlorine in bleaching powder form as it was found safer in the absence of trained staff for using chlorine gas. Experts have warned time and again that chlorine gas can be deadly if inhaled or absorbed through the skin, alleged Akhand.
The petitioner has prayed for action against erring officials. The next hearing of the case is fixed on 25 January.